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Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration

Symbolic Monarch Migration Update: April 7, 2000

Today's Update Includes:

Final Days in Mexico
The symbolic butterflies are now spending their final days in Mexico. Next week, the Children's Museum in Mexico City will send off thousands and thousands of new butterflies on their flight north. Those butterflies, along with the hundreds we gathered from the rural ejido communities in the monarch sanctuary region, will soon be coming your way.

This new generation of butterflies, made by Mexican students, symbolizes the contribution Mexico makes each winter to preserve the monarch's annual cycle. As the butterflies cross north of the border, with them comes our responsibility to conserve habitat on the monarchs' breeding grounds.

When Will the Symbolic Butterflies Reach Your School?
The Symbolic Migration is now in our 4th year, and we've learned we can't compete with Mother Nature. While the real monarchs are flooding northward, we'll be working VERY HARD behind the scenes preparing to send the symbolic monarchs back to your community. We must mail all packages at once; otherwise, people worry that theirs are lost and write to us in concern. Therefore, we plan to have all butterflies mailed by this deadline, so please mark your calendar:

Homecoming for Symbolic Monarchs: May 12, 2000

Whose Butterflies Landed Near the Sanctuaries?

Over 100 photos from the sanctuary region are included in the links from this report. You may find your symbolic monarch in the hands of a student who cared for it this winter!

The purpose of the Symbolic Migration is to build understanding and friendship between children of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps most important to include, are the children who live in the sanctuary region. After all, their families actually own the land where the monarchs rest each winter. These people are some of the poorest in our hemisphere, yet much of the responsibility of monarch conservation falls on their shoulders.

This spring, over 1,000 students in the schools surrounding Angangueo are following the monarch's migration north. As the butterflies fly over your homes, schools and cites, Journey North is sending the news back to them. Link to March 29 update.

"My students want to learn so much more about the 'other side' where the butterflies fly away to," said the second grade teacher at Jesus De Nazareno School. "They see monarchs everyday here in the winter season, but don't completely understand that these same butterflies fly thousands of miles each year
Picture of class at Escuela Jesus De Nazareno.

"It is important to continue a friendship with students who see the same butterflies that travel from one backyard to another thousands of miles away." Seruando Nieto Gomez, second and fifth grade teacher at Lazaro Cardenas Primary School

Escuela Cerro Prieto
The people of the Cerro Prieto ejido own critical land in the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary. Can you find the Cerro Prieto land on this sanctuary map? The Cerro Prieto families actually live and farm much closer to the El Rosario Sanctuary. In fact, you can see El Rosario on the mountain behind the students.

Escuela Benito Juarez
The children at Escuela Benito Juarez had never been into the monarch sanctuary, even though they live only a few minutes away. When we were there last fall to deliver the symbolic butterflies, we packed everybody into a truck and took them on a spur-of-the-moment field trip. Even the symbolic butterflies came along, and went into the sanctuary where the real monarchs are.

Escuela Pedro Ascencio
At 10,000 feet elevation, where the monarchs spend the winter, over-night temperatures can drop to freezing. Students at Pedro Ascencio school live beside the Sierra Chincua sanctuary. Monarchs often fly silently over the school yard, to and from the sanctuary. Since school began last September, Pedro Ascencio students have been maintaining a small weather station. This will help us understand how the climate and weather change during the monarchs' over-wintering season.

Escuela Issac Arriaga
Have you seen the new IMAX film, "Epic Journeys: The Great Migrations"? If so, you saw the students from Escuela Issac Arriaga visiting the monarch sanctuary, wearing their red uniforms. This school is located in the town of Angangueo--right beside the town square. Fernando Romero, who's delivering migration news through the community, went to this school up until 5th grade and lives across the street.

Otras Escuelas (Snapshots of Several Other Schools)

Thanks to the People Who Make The Symbolic Migration Possible

This project would not be possible without:
  • Martha Sanchez, and her tireless staff at the Children's Museum in Mexico City, who found homes for the thousands upon thousands of symbolic butterflies that flew to Mexico this winter. The museum staff visited schools throughout Mexico City, and found students to make new butterflies to send back north, and continue the cycle of friendship.
  • Rocio Trevino, of Correo Real, who dedicates her time to monarch conservation and education all along the monarchs migration path through northern Mexico. Rocio found homes for 2,000 butterflies this winter, and had another 2,000 new butterflies made.
  • United Parcel Service (UPS), for letting the butterflies fly freely across our borders once again this spring.

The FINAL Symbolic Monarch Migration Update Will be Posted on May 1, 2000

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